A General Assembly of Time Lords was called to the Panopticon. Every Time Lord who was anybody was there on this auspicious day. These Time Lords wore robes of many different colours which represented the many different chapters.
Scarlet and orange for the Prydonian Chapter, green and brown for the Arcalian Chapter, silver and grey for Dromeian chapter, subdued light blue for the Cerulean chapter, heliotrope for the Patrex Chapter and black for the Scendles chapter.
All these important people had come to witness the execution of the former Cardinal Zero. The trial of the century had come and gone a month ago. Most of the Tempest Knights had been sentenced to an eternity of imprisoned within Shada. The others had been given the sentences of exile.
After spending two months recovering from his injuries and living like a hermit in his rooms, the Doctor had finally decided to re-join Time Lord Society. Going through the main entrance, the Doctor stepped into the massive six sided room which was packed with Time Lords.
No longer wearing his frock coat and checkered trousers, the Doctor had traded in his usual clothes for scarlet robes with a matching skull cap. He was just about to take his place with the Prydonian chapter when he was cut off by another scarlet robed individual. Vansell blocked the Doctor's path. He had a snotty superior look on his face.
"Fancy seeing you here Doctor, I do like the new look. Makes you look half way respectfully" commented Vansell with a smirk.
The Doctor was different to the bright eyed Time Lord he had been three months ago. His white haired had lengthened and his skin had wrinkled. His bright eyes had slightly darkened with the weight of experience.
"Hrmm I understand they have given you a promotion Vansell. They final promoted you to chief of the all the CIA rats. A promotion well deserved in my opinion" sniffed the Doctor, haughty.
"That's Coordinator. Coordinator Vansell and my promotion has been a long time coming" growled Vansell.
The Doctor jerked himself close to Vansell. Close enough so that no one could hear there following conversation. There words were drowned out by the hubbub of noise from the oncoming Time Lords as came in to find their seats.
"How much did it cost Vansell hrmmm, because in my opinion the cost was too high? I know the great secret Vansell. It wasn't too hard to work out. The President wanted to replace one of the Cardinals of the Surpreme Council with one of his supporters and Zero was in the way. Zero was the oldest serving Cardinal so the President couldn't sack him and Zero was not planning to retire anytime soon. So the honourable President Pundat hatched a plan with the Celestial Intervention Agency. You played on Zero's frustration over our non-intervention policy. You gave him the resources to rebel including the use of an illegal Time Scoop. Then the President could have him arrested and have him executed. But you underestimated Zero's resolve. You underestimated the lengths Zero would go to see the Time Lords overthrown. Fortunately I was around to clean up your mess. Now the President is busy trying to cover up his involvement. Including paying off low level CIA agents by awarding them with promotions hrmmm" accused the Doctor.
The Doctor grabbed his scarlet robes by the lapels and looked down his long hooked nose at Vansell, enjoying the moral high ground.
Vansell looked at the Doctor with anger and surprise.
"You have no proof" growled Vansell.
The Doctor just smiled and laughed a Vansell.
"I don't need proof Vansell. I know that despite yours schemes, despite all your little plans and your well laid traps; all your efforts will come to nought. Not that I doubt your intellect or your mindless patriotism of course. The truth is Vansell, that at heart you are a coward. This is the reason why you will always fail in your endeavours because you lack the courage to follow through with your convictions. I don't need to disgrace you by exposing your schemes. Your cowardice does that for me and it will ultimately be your undoing" condemned the Doctor.
The Doctor's words struck deep. Vansell couldn't help but feel ashamed for his actions. Anger caused Vansell's face to go bright red. Before Vansell could give an angry retort a hand reached out and tapped his shoulder from behind. Vansell and the Doctor turned with a start. Standing behind Vansell was the thin grey faced Councillor Ratisbon in heliotrope coloured robes.
"Ahh Coordinator Vansell. Found you at last" stated Ratisbon with a thin smile.
The old and wile head of the CIA turned on the Doctor. His hard bland grey eyes seemed to probe the Doctor.
"Greetings Doctor, It is good to see you up and about. I heard you'd taken quite a beating" queried Ratisbon, not an iota of true concern on his face.
"Never been better, I rather think I have improved with age" declared the Doctor, proudly.
"Excellent, I'm glad the unfortunate incident with the Tempest menace hasn't slowed you down. I am surprised that a man of talent hasn't ever considered a career with the Celestial Intervention Agency" said Ratisbon.
Vansell spluttered in shock while the Doctor eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"Why would the CIA want me? I thought my contempt for authority and a hatred for being used as a puppet would exclude me from any such position" stated the Doctor, sarcastically.
The grey faced old man gave a smug crocodile smile.
"Normally it would be but we could make an exception for you. A man with your talents could be very usefully to us" explained Ratisbon.
The Doctor snorted in derision.
"A man with my many talents realizes that taking up a position with the CIA is more trouble than it's worth. I am nobodies stooge. So with all due respect Councillor Ratisbon, I will have to turn down your generous offer" stated the Doctor, with a mocking bow.
Ratisbon usual grey features turned scarlet at the Doctor's goading. Before either Vansell or Ratisbon could remonstrate the Doctor, Borusa wearing a rich scarlet robe came over and grabbed the Doctor by the shoulder.
"Excuse me gentlemen, I would like a word with my ex-pupil" excused Borusa.
Without waiting for a reply, Borusa led the Doctor off into one of the atriums, outside the Panopticon. Both Vansell and Ratisbon stared at the two retreating figures as they made their way through the crowds of oncoming Prydonian Time Lords looking to find their seats.
"Was that necessary Councillor? I don't see why we need that bumbling retrograde" questioned Vansell, indignantly?
Ratisbon gave his subordinate an annoyed look and rolled his eyes.
"I see the necessity Vansell. While your judgement is clouded by hatred, I see a one step ahead. The Doctor is a man of many talents. A vast intelligence, resourcefulness and is expendable. A trait we value most of all. There are situations that the Doctor could solve for us. The political crisis on Peladon, the delivery of a message pod to the planet Solos and putting a stop to Kartz and Reimers Time experiments just to name a few. Why the Doctor would be an ideal agent to place on Earth in the late 20th century" explained Ratisbon.
"Earth" queried Vansell?
"Sol 3, a small planet in the Mutter Spiral. 20th Century in the Humanian Era is a particular turbulent time for that small backward planet. Alien incursions, temporal calamities and troubles caused by the Terranes themselves. A well placed agent could influence events and take the appropriate measures. The Doctor's fascination with the Earth and his particular set of skill would make him the perfect Time Lord for the job" explained Ratisbon.
"The Doctor would never agree to be exile to that backwater. You heard the old fool. He doesn't want anymore to do with us" complained Vansell.
For the first time in a long time, Ratisbon gave a smile with vindictive glee.
"It is a simple matter of leverage my dear subordinate. Given the right amount of leverage the Doctor will do whatever we want with a minimal amount of fuss. We just need to wait for the Doctor to make a wrong step and we will have him" elucidated Ratisbon.
Vansell looked at the Doctor's retreating figure as he walked into the atrium with Borusa.
"Shouldn't be too difficult given the Doctor's habit of finding trouble" remarked Vansell.
In the atrium, Borusa turned to the Doctor.
"You may no longer be my student but let me furnish you with a small piece of advice. Your recent activities have drawn attention of every Time Lord in the Capitol. Do you understand what that means? They're going to be watching every move you make from now on. So making a fool of the head of the Celestial Intervention Agency is not a promising idea" advised Borusa.
The Doctor narrowed his eyes and grabbed the lapels of his robes.
"Hrmm, well I will try not to soil myself in the Panopticon then" said the Doctor, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Borusa frowned at his former pupil and gave a disappointed look.
"As I believe I told you long ago, Doctor, you will never amount to anything in the galaxy while you retain your propensity for vulgar facetiousness" lectured Borusa.
"What do you want from me sir? I will never be the Time Lord that you think I should be. I am my own Time Lord. I am the Doctor, whether you like it or not" protested the Doctor.
"So you keep saying. Just watch your step from now on Doctor" warned Borusa.
Borusa turned to walk back into the Panopticon but as if remembering something, turned back to the Doctor.
"Oh by the way Doctor, eight out of ten" said Borusa, with a crooked smile.
"Only eight out of ten sir, I did save the whole of Gallifrey hrrmm? Probably the Universe if we're being technically" asked the Doctor, exasperated?
"That you did, but you also crashed a TARDIS into the Citadel. I am afraid you lose marks for property damage. Not mentioning the damage done to time itself" instructed Borusa.
With a rustling of robes, Borusa turned and left the atrium to take his place in the Panopticon. The Doctor was about to join Borusa when he heard a cough behind him. Koschei was standing behind him, wearing similar scarlet robes.
"Why Doctor, you look surprised to see me" said Koschei with a sinister smile.
The Doctor gave his old friend a relieved grin.
"I'm just glad that the Tribunal did not give you a lengthy prison sentence on Shada or worse" commented the Doctor.
"I am indestructible. The whole universe knows that. It also helped that I assisted you with the Chaos Engine and gave testimony against all of my conspirators. The Inquisitor Prime of the Tribunal pardoned me for my crimes, although I have lost my mantle as Castilian. A small price considering the alternative could have been my lives. Compared to what happened to Ushas and Magnus it was just a light tap" carped Koschei.
"What sentence did they get" asked the Doctor.
"The Tribunal gave Magnus, banishment from Gallifrey for the rest of his lives. Rumour has it that Magnus stole a load of prototype TARDIS technology and took it with him. Rassilon knows what kind of mischief he will get up to. Ushas on the other hand received a rather more serious punishment due in no small part to the enmity from the Lord President. I doubt he'll ever forget being mauled by Ushas's mutant mouse. She managed to wriggle out of the charge of treason but they got her for mutating that mouse. They sentenced her to exile in a single time and place for the rest of eternity. However she hijacked the TARDIS delivering her to her planet of exile and is now on the run. It would seem our Ushas has become a renegade. She has even changed her name. Ushas is now calling herself the 'Rani'" reported Koschei.
"Hrmm, the name somehow suits her. What about you? What of the drumming" questioned the Doctor?
Koschei closed his eyes and placed a hand on his head. He began to massage his temple.
"The drumming is still there. It blazes in the centre of my consciousness and threatens to take over. I have control and I can maintain control but I will need help. Will you help me Doctor" pleaded Koschei?
Fear engulfed Koschei face. It reminded the Doctor of the little boy he had grown up with, his best friend who stood with him for all their adventures. The Doctor reached out a hand to Koschei and his old friend took it. They shook hands, renewing their friendship that would last them an eternity.
"So are you going to get rid of that rubbish beard? I don't like it" joked the Doctor.
Koschei let go of the Doctor's hand and rolled his eyes.
"Only when you get rid of your ridiculous sense of humour" said Koschei.
The Doctor chuckled.
"Why of course my dear friend, we have much to catch up on hrmmm. I have much to tell you about my adventures" stated the Doctor.
All of the Time Lord's watched from the hover platforms of the Panopticon as Zero was lead out in chains by two members of the Chancellery Guard and taken to the centre platform. The Doctor couldn't help but pity the fallen Time Lord as he sat watching proceedings on the Prydonian platform. Even though he was dressed in the finest black robes of his chapter, Zero still looked like a walking corpse. His foul decaying face with its hate filled red eyes caused a gasp of shock to ripple through the watching spectators.
The Doctor may have been against the death penalty on principle but he had to admit that this was probably a mercy. Death by vaporisation was painless while the agony of Zero's current state could only be described as a fate worse than death. The Chancellery guard placed Zero on the centre platform and the guardsman with the gold sash across his chest turned to crowd.
"Before the Prisoner is executed, he will be allowed to say his final words" announced the guardsmen.
His words were dictated by tradition as laid down during the days of Rassilon.
All attention was drawn to the most hated Time Lord in over a century.
There was silence from Zero as if he was considering his words before he pronounced his last word.
"You think you're so clever…" gasped Zero, in a deep evil voice.
"You sit on top of your hill and do nothing as our great Enemy works against us. Yes that Enemy. The Enemy that we all fear, the ones who will bring ruin to us all. Unlike you I couldn't wait around for the Enemy to make the first strike so I went looking for them. While you all were paralysed by indecision I actually did something. That hiatus I took a hundreds year back was not to my estate in Outer Gallifrey but to find the Enemy with the help of a TARDIS. I went around the Universe investigating the possibilities. My investigation led me to a world in the Seventh Galaxy beyond Andromeda.
It was an inhospitable planet that had been devastated by a thousand years of war. The radiation from this long forgotten war had caused the lifeforms on that planet to mutate in unspeakable ways. I stumbled onto that benighted world and I was quickly captured by the race that ruled that planet. They took me to their metal city and imprisoned me. I was able to deduce very quickly that they were a highly advanced race, not held back by sentiment or emotion.
Their motives and objectives were guided by pure logic. It was clear to me that this was the Enemy that I sought. So I made them an offer. In return for my release, I would return to Gallifrey and destroy the Time Lords. Naturally my new metal friends quickly accepted my offer. They had already encountered a particular Time Lord that had caused them much grief. In the language of the Enemy, they call him the Ka Faraq Gatri. Roughly translated it means the Oncoming Storm and the Destroyer of Worlds. The Enemy was eager to put an end to the Ka Faraq Gatri before he had a chance to leave Gallifrey. My planned revolution would provide them with that opportunity. So the Enemy supplied the Polycarbide I used in the Tempest armour and let me go. Of course I never had any intention of destroying the Time Lords.
I wanted to reshape the Time Lords into my Knights. The way Rassilon wanted us to be before his fellow Time Lords imprisoned him inside his tomb. Yes, I know everyone here has heard the legends and I confirm they are true. Before the being known as the Other committed suicide, he convinced Rassilon's cowardly brethren to rebel against him. It is the reason we revile the Other during Otherside.
I could have righted this wrong and reformed the Time Lords into something magnificent. I AM THE GREAT INTELLIGENCE! I could have done so much for you and now I go to my grave. Yet I go to my grave fulfilled in the knowledge that the Time Lords will soon be no more. A war is coming. The Enemy will sweep away Gallifrey and its impotent quorum of Time Lords" screamed Zero!
The so called quorum of Time Lords all sat there grey faced. All hiding their emotions behind unbreakable barriers but the Doctor could tell that they were all dumbfounded. There was a part of the Doctor that wanted to dismiss Zero's ranting as madness but he could sense the truth in Zero's words. The Doctor had even felt a jolt of déjà vu at Zero's description of the Other, like he had experienced it in a dream long forgotten. The sound of clapping broke through the silence.
A tall thin faced young man strode forward wearing the golden sash of the President of the High Council. The newly regenerated President Pundat the Third gave Zero an ingenious smile.
"Well done Zero, what a marvellous bit of theatre. I'm sure I speak for the rest of High Council when I say we are impressed by your lies. But in the end they are just lies. Your sins have been found you out Zero and now it is time for you to pay. Lower the Vaporisation chamber" ordered the President!
Directly above Zero's head a green man sized tube materialise. It pulsated as it slowly lowered down over Zero's head. Zero's rotten features formed into a snarl of defiance as his rotting face disappeared forever. That was the last time anyone would ever see Zero alive again. As soon as the chamber had engulfed Zero, the pulsating green light grew brighter until every Time Lord had to shield their eyes from a bright flash. The vaporisation chamber disappeared, leaving nothing but empty air in its wake. Zero was dead.